In the 19th C when people were increasingly migrating to industrialized cites, the rates of infant mortality actually increased when compared to the 18th C, reaching as high as 30 to 50%. This alone could also account for the predominance of post-mortem portraiture being of children and infants. At first, the dead child was usually photographed at home, sometimes close up and with tenderness and dressed in their finest christening gown.

They were often depicted with the sentiments of “the last sleep,” lying in cradles or on beds or cots. The sentiment of a final sleep pervaded the aesthetics of these portraits in the latter half of the 19th C. especially. They might be seated in their baby carriages. Sometimes, if a little older, they were seated in chairs, even with their eyes open in a pose that was supposed to feign life.

(Source: mortisia)

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